The work will be exhibited in the First Hawaiian Bank Wailuku Branch, facing Market Street (27 North Market Street). The exhibit area will eventually connect to a new walkway surrounding the Wailuku municipal parking lot, which features the work of ST*BA's former Mana Wahine project.
The location and Dae’s experience as a Maui-based Wahine artist creates a natural extension of Small Town * Big Art’s previous Mana Wahine works, tying together multiple ST*BA projects and programs.
We recently had the opportunity to ask Sachelle a few questions about her ST*BA experience and inspiration, and what the process means to her:
As an artist, what drew you to Small Town * Big Art, and being a part of public art in Wailuku town?
When I was a teenager, I did a lot of volunteering up at Waikamoi Forest as well as a conservation internship with Kupu. At that time, I thought I would become a conservation biologist because giving back and helping a place I loved felt right.
Although I had always done art in some form, I later became really obsessed with realist art and attended school for it in Philadelphia, PA. As a teenager I also did a lot of murals with my friends just for fun.
Moving back home I always had the intention that I wanted my actions to enhance the community and environment. Being part of Small Town Big Art seemed like a natural choice for my framework and what I wanted to be involved with going forward. I love how the program actually involves members of the community, not just putting a mural in a neighborhood with no context. It's creating connection in an age when we need it most.
What does being a part of public art on Maui mean to you, personally?
It means everything! Maui is where I'm from and so it's a part of my heart. It's like being in love and having your actions energized by that love.
Your work is based on the ST*BA storytelling exchange led by Leilehua Yuen. What drew you to the stories of Roselle Bailey and Wallette Pellegrino?
Roselle Bailey and Wallette Pellegrino's stories have a nice contrast of immateriality and materiality. Duality is fun to play with but there is also something that links them together. One is not mutually exclusive.
Hearing Walette Pellegrino's stories of old Wailuku town was heartwarming but also historically interesting to me. Even though her account is more factual, you can tell she has a love for the spirit of place.
Roselle Bailey talks about what that spirit is, how the land speaks to us through sound and vibration. Although I studied realist art, I did a lot of abstract art when I was younger so now my art is becoming a combination of both (again a connected dichotomy). These two stories felt fitting for what I enjoy expressing.
Your installation is set to become a natural extension of the ST*BA Mana Wahine project in Wailuku town. How has working with the stories of Wahine been significant for you and your work?
Well, in some ways it's interesting because I studied western figurative art which, historically, was women painted by men and where the term "male gaze" probably first took flight. So, it's cool that I can take the skills from that lineage and reclaim it as a wahine. There is so much more to unpack than has historically been shown. I am thrilled to give voice and elevate the strong, smart, and interesting wahine in our community.
What has been the most significant moment, or experience, of your community consultations?
My favorite was meeting Roselle Bailey. We met at her house and sat in the hale where she has her hula halau. She has such a unique warm presence where you can really feel her aloha. We talked story for a long while and then she taught me more about oli and other Hawaiian cultural practices, views and values.
Not only was the information she imparted extremely valuable but sitting down during the day just to be in each other's presence with no cell phone to distract each other was an amazing experience in itself. It's the most natural thing in the world yet also feels like going back in time.
Note: emphasis added by author in certain areas.